Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Nick Mullens discusses Brandon Aiyuk, Ross Dwelley, comfort level with receivers, preparing for 49ers-Saints

Nov 12, 2020 at 4:55 PM--

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens spoke with reporters after practice on Thursday, as the team prepares for its game against the New Orleans Saints. Here is everything he had to say.

Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

Four years ago, you got a start in the Superdome and you did pretty well in it. What kind of positive karma can you take from that final game in college for Southern Miss?

"That was my last game of college. We finished up on a good note. Anytime you can get a trophy in a bowl game, it's huge. It's always nice to play in a dome. Air feels good, perfect weather, on turf bouncing around. I've been to the Superdome a couple times. Obviously, we played there last year, but even as a fan and things like that. So yeah, I like the Superdome. I like its atmosphere."

That was going to be one of the other questions. Did you go there? Did you take the drive from Alabama down to a couple Saints games? Do you have family coming to the game since you actually can have fans now to watch you?

"Yeah, they're actually not going to be able to make it unfortunately, but it's all right. Pretty used to watching it on TV by now. Yeah, I went to a couple of Saints games. My rookie year, I had some buddies from the Rams who played the Saints, went down to watch that game. Then I went to a Monday night game, I think, my junior year of college, versus the Ravens and [FB Kyle Juszczyk] Juice was the fullback, actually. So, I saw Juice play against the Saints back on Monday night. So yeah, I've been to the Superdome a couple of times."

Just like you said, it's going to be the first time where you have fans in the stadium. A little anticipation to have a little crowd noise there for real?

"Yeah, that's exciting. It gets us fired up. Any more energy you can get into the atmosphere, it feels like real football again. So, we're pumped for that."

When you look at the wide receiver position right now, what's it been like for you to practice, not knowing, you know, you haven't had WR Kendrick Bourne in two weeks, WR Deebo Samuel's not out there, WR River Cracraft was out today, WR Trent Taylor was out yesterday. How do you try to kind of keep some semblance of order for what you're doing and try to get to know and work and develop chemistry with your guys?

"Yeah, it's definitely been a fluid situation over the past couple of weeks and the things that we've had to deal with. But, at the same time, those are guys that I've gotten reps with, whether it be camp, practice, throughout the years. So, there's guys that I've worked with. I like that. We feel very comfortable with each other and every practice rep matters and that's what counts."

I've noticed that head coach Kyle Shanahan seems to call much fewer negative yardage throws for you than for QB Jimmy Garoppolo. I'm talking shovel passes, wide receiver screens, anything that when the ball doesn't travel past the line of scrimmage. So, what I'm asking you is, have you told Kyle that you don't feel as comfortable with those negative-yard passes and you don't want them in the game plan? Have you had that discussion with him?

"No, not at all. I trust the plays that coach Shanahan calls and just do my job to best of my ability. I've not had that discussion. And those plays are dependent on the week. Sometimes they're good depending on the game plan and which opponent you're going against as well."

OL Laken Tomlinson was just in there talking about how you always have your playbook around you. You've got a full method to your madness. Is there anything that's changed in your process since coming to the Niners?

"I think you're always evolving, I guess you could say. You're always trying to pick up something new. You're always trying to learn. You're always trying to just take in more. And so, you definitely have a routine, but at the same time, your routine has to adapt. You kind of know, you're aware of the work that you need to put in throughout the week to feel confident on Sunday. Once you get all that down, feel confident going into Sunday and ready to let it rip. So, I think every quarterback has their routine and preparation is definitely key. It is something I pride myself on."

You're facing a defense that had a pretty good game against a quarterback who's pretty good. What do you see from that defense and what are the challenges that you see when you pop on the film and watch that?

"Yeah, they do a great job. They're very sound. They're very detailed and they're aggressive. They're experienced. They're an experienced group and they're getting after the quarterback right now. So, they're playing at a very high level and we're aware of the challenge, but we're preparing every day and we feel just as confident. We love our game plan. I love the guys we've got on the field and we're ready to attack."

You guys made some changes on the offensive line. What kind of struck you about OL Daniel Brunskill moving one spot over and playing center and how's that chemistry with you two?

"Yeah. Me and Dan, we're real tight. We have really good chemistry. I think even, maybe even during camp, he might've worked at center a little bit. We've known that he's been able to play center for a while now. So, he's just going to do whatever job is asked of him. That's why he's been so successful here, is he's versatile, can really play any position. He brings great energy and aggressiveness to the offensive line and to the offense. So, we're working very well together."

When it comes to WR Brandon Aiyuk, he obviously didn't get to play last week. What's his level at right now in terms of wanting to get on that field and kind of make up for that absence?

"Yeah. He's fired up. You never want to miss a game, especially for a reason like that. So, to get back out there, he had a lot of momentum going for him in those couple of weeks, just getting better every week. You can still see that and so we're excited to get Brandon back out there and play together."

TE Ross Dwelley has stepped in for TE George Kittle when he's been out. What is it about Ross that makes him special at what he does?

"Yeah, whatever his role is that week, he's going to do it and he's going to get it done. Whether that's fullback, some last year, and then blocking and receiving, whatever it is. He works as hard as anybody in the locker room I feel like. Talk about a guy that's always in his books, very disciplined in his daily process. That's Ross and that's why he's been successful. Just getting better each and every year. That's what Ross does and so he is a very solid player for us."

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